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“For the Firm Maintenance of the Dignity and Tranquility of the Imperial Family”: Law and Familial Order in the Romanov Dynasty

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This article examines the Law of Succession and the Statute on the Imperial Family, texts which were issued by Emperor Paul I on April 5, 1797, and which regulated the succession to the throne and the structure of the Romanov dynasty as a family down to the end of the empire in 1917. It also analyzes the revisions introduced in these texts by subsequent emperors, focusing particularly on the development of a requirement for equal marriage and for marrying Orthodox spouses. The article argues that changing circumstances in the dynasty—its rapid increase in numbers, its growing demands on the financial resources of the Imperial Household, its struggle to resist morganatic and interfaith marriages—forced changes to provisions in the Law and Statute, and that the Romanovs debated and reformed the structure of the Imperial Family in the context of the provisions of these laws. The article shows how these Imperial House laws served as a vitally important arena for reform and legal culture in pre-revolutionary Russia.


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